Feb 17, 2009

Hybrid fish a threat to indigenous

Hybrid fish a threat to indigenous
species in Kurigram
Our Correspondent . Kurigram
The indigenous fish species in Kurigram is under a big threat due to rapidly increased farming and marketing of the hybrid ones.
Besides, all varieties of local fish are also on the decline in all nine upazilas of the district because of drastic fall in waters of the rivers, ponds and water bodies.
The sharp fall in production of local fish resources is also widely blamed on the indiscriminate catching of the mother fish.
The hybrids are replacing a total of 20 varieties of local fish including puti, kai, magur, baim, chital, khalisa, shol, shing, boal, pabda, tengra, bheda and lalkhalisa.
The local hats and bazars are now flooded with hybrid varieties of fish which are less tasty and nutritious than the local ones.
Poor production of the indigenous fish species has made them scarce on the markets and thrown a good number of local fishermen out of their ancestral job.
These fishermen once caught huge fish from the local water bodies and sold the same after meeting their domestic demand.
With the depletion of local fish resources in the region, the proverb ‘Bengalis are with rice and fish’ seems to have started losing its actual meaning.
Sources said unabated use of fine nets for fishing in the water bodies, their pollution and poor depth in river waters, because of filling up of their embankments by illegal encroachers are also among the reasons behind the fall in production of the local fish.
Dulal,30, Manik,33, and Kachua,38, fish traders at the musicality market, told this correspondent that very few number of the local fish species were now found in the rivers and water bodies, adding that the production will decrease more in future.
Rabindranath Roy, 52, Mustafiz,39, and Dr. Aminul Islam, buyers at the Krigram municipality market, told this correspondent that local fish were very scarce on the market, adding that even if they were found, very high prices were charged for them which was beyond the purchasing capacity of the common consumers.
According to sources at the Kurigram district fishery office, there are a total of 8,896 ponds (8817 on private owned and 79 on Khas land) on 1,109.12 hectares of land, 169 water bodies on 1,626.28 hectares of land and 13 rivers on 18,794.49 hectares of land in all the nine upazilas of the district.
Awareness should be created among people not to catch local fish from the rivers and water bodies to boost their production and this is possible only through a joint public-private initiative, the sources said.

Mango trees budding in Rajshahi region
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Rajshahi
With the advent of spring, mango trees have started budding massively in the greater Rajshahi region, the area known as the hub of the delicious fruit.
According to agronomists, experts and farmers that around 35 per cent mango trees had already sprouted due to favourable climatic condition.
Early departure of winter and absence of fog may be another reason for such a massive flowering of mango trees, they said.
Both the growers and officials, however, said that the coming summer is the ‘On Year’ for mango production and naturally this year the production of mango in the region will significantly be higher in comparison to the previous year that was considered ‘Off Year’ for production of natural reason.
Experts of Regional Horticulture Research Centre said most of the mango trees in Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi and other neighbouring districts have started flowering of buds due to favourable weather.
Dr Shafiqul Islam, senior scientific officer of fruit research centre, said congenial atmosphere helped for blooming 85 to 90 percent mango trees in the region. ‘The flowering began at the end of January and will continue till end of this month when all the mango trees will blossom,’ he said.
According to officials, this year may witness a bumper production of mango if the weather remains favourable during the next couple of months for this cash crop.
Dr Golam Murtoza, senior scientific officer of RHRC, however, attributed the problems like fluctuation of temperature, excessive rainfall or fog, attack of pests and insects and inclement weather for probable declining of mango production this year.
The current flowering season has already passed the first two stages. But the attacks of pest and storm in the months of Baishakh and Jaishtha remain as a major threat to the crop. ‘It has been witnessed that the young mango trees are more efflorescent than the older ones,’ he said.
Most of the commercial varieties of mango in the region are known as alternative or irregular varieties because they have the maximum yields after each alternative year. Department of Agriculture Extension sources said there are around 35 lakh mango trees of different ages on some 20 thousand hectares of land in the region.
He also said the number of young mango trees has been increasing in the region for the last couple of years following awareness created among the people.
Mango, the leading seasonal cash crop of the north-western region, commands the overall economy of especially Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts.
A large number of people are engaged in different jobs from nursing to harvesting and packing of mango for transportation and trading during this particular season every year.
Braja Hari Das, Deputy Director of DAE, said the region has long been producing more than 100 varieties of mangoes, including the sweetest ones like Gopalbhog, Langra, Fazli, Khirsapat, Mohanbhog and Lakhna.
‘The mango growers are habituated in producing the native varieties in traditional methods instead of using scientific system to grow newly developed varieties,’ he said.

Potato yield likely to fall
in Barisal region
Our Correspondent . Barisal
Farmers fear sharp fall in potato production in six districts of Barisal region this season as their crop fields have been massively attacked with late blight, a fungal disease, due to inclement weather.
The ‘late blight’ virus has caused extensive damage to potato plants on vast tracts of land in Barisal, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Bhola, Barguna and Jhalakati districts, causing worries to the farmers, locals said.
Cold wave accompanied by dense fog is mainly responsible for the virus attack on the potato fields, according to officials of Department of Agricultural Extension in Tangail.
DAE in Barisal division has set a programme to cultivate the cash crop on 13,450 hectares of land to produce 2.25 lakh tonnes of potato.
But farmers of these districts have cultivated potato on 10,483 hectares of land due to seeds and fertiliser crisis.
Farmers are now casting doubt about whether the production target could be achieved as the disease has hampered timely growth of potato plants in many areas of the districts.
Abdur Rashid and Sreemanto, farmers of Babuganj in Barisal, said the disease attacked potato on 10 hectares land out of 40 hectares in the upazila.
‘I borrowed money to cultivate potato, but my entire potato field is now affected with the fungus. I am now helpless, said Abdur Rashid.
‘I fear that massive virus attack could shatter the hope of bumper yield of potato this year,’ said Sreemanto.
Another farmer, Babu Molla of Bhola, said at least 60 per cent of potato on his eight acres of land was damaged by the diseases.
Humayan, another farmer of Nalchity upazila under Jhalakati, said late blight damaged almost 30 per cent of the plants on his 5 acres of land.
Molla Safiur Rahman, additional director of DAE in Barisal, said agriculture extension officials had promptly advised farmers to spray pesticides when the attack was at primary stage.
While farmers said they have spray fungicides following the advice of DAE officials but all of their efforts went into vain.
Besides, many farmers could not use pesticides on their potato fields due to high prices which have shot up because of high demand and scanty supply in the markets, they said.

Housewife killed by in-laws in Comilla
Our Correspondent . Comilla
A housewife was beaten to death allegedly by her in-laws for dowry at village Mugashair under Muradnagar upazila in Comilla Saturday night.
The deceased was identified as Shapna Akhter, 22, daughter of Golam Mustafa of Nobipur of the upazila.
Locals said she got married with Kowsar Miah six years ago.
From the beginning, Kawsar used to torture her for bringing dowry money from her parental house.
On the fateful night, Kowsar and other members of his family again pressed her to bring the money from her father’s house.
They became furious and started beating her mercilessly leaving her critically injured. Later, she died on the way to hospital.